The art of writing is in a steep irreversible decline. It has been so since November 13th, 1907 when the last sentence of any worth was written. It has been replaced by twitter (shameless plug in about forty-eight hours I will have a article about my life as encapsulated by phrases of no more than 140 characters…yes my writers block is that bad) We as writers would like to blame many sources. Television is one of the prime culprits as they have reduced story telling to bad jokes and catch phrases that become popular because a laugh track. There is the internet, that actually encourages, nearly forces, people to condense their thoughts and communications into a group of symbols and horrendous grammar as we write to our friends in between financial reports and meetings. Websites using the most idiotic of language (my favorite example is “bling bling “ instead of the far more complicated “jewelry”) are far more popular than those frequented by serious writers. Even the philosophers of our age (Al Gore comes to mind) are so reliant on technology to get the message across that we are subjected to infantile Power Point presentations that strictly follow the “Four lines of no more four words each” that at no point is anything that can count as a full sentence is used to discuss problems like global warming, the financial crisis, or the proliferation of a New York Yankee fan base in countries where they don’t even have baseball. Could you imagine Twain or Neitzche or Plato doing a power point presentation if it were possible in their time?
The worst threat to writing, the threat that will ultimately spell the end of writing as a form of communication in the by July 23rd 2009, is ultimately us. We sit here behind warm radiation filled glow of our computers deriding popular authors because they are not true artists. Sure they are getting people to read books again. Sure they inspiring children to use their imaginations and pulling them away from the death grip of the internet and X-box. But they are not using big words. They are not tackling big social issues. They are not, in short, being snobs.
When I joined red room I expected a place where I could write and I would get comments, for better or more likely worse, which would help improve my writing. But what I have found instead is a bastion of elitism. Ironically by people who were mostly ignored for being nerds, or seeing the world different, or because they found comfort in the the words of Jane Austen. I am not sure how many writers quit writing because of what is a decidedly cold community in this websites and others like it.
We should be doing what the twitter and facebooks and other “lower forms” of writing do. We should be using this community to be showing the world that writing is accessible to everyone. That writing is just like talking but here our voice is the pen and paper (and eventually computer, but I still have this romantic idea that writers still use notebooks and pens and papers and not computers until the end product is being worked on.) Or we can continue our snobbery. We can continue to not read each others blogs and publications and continue to comment on them because we “don’t like that style” or we see certain genres as being “below us”. But if we are going to take this option I humbly suggest we do it sooner rather than later, Writing is dying an ugly painful death. We have a choice to nurse it back to health or bring it some European country where euthanasia is permitted and preferably paid for by the state. The choice is ours.